NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by William T. Harbaugh

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Working Papers

October 2011Evidence on the Efficacy of School-Based Incentives for Healthy Living
with Harold E. Cuffe, Jason M. Lindo, Giancarlo Musto, Glen R. Waddell: w17478
We analyze the effects of a school-based incentive program on children's exercise habits. The program offers children an opportunity to win prizes if they walk or bike to school during prize periods. We use daily child-level data and individual fixed effects models to measure the impact of the prizes by comparing behavior during prize periods with behavior during non-prize periods. Variation in the timing of prize periods across different schools allows us to estimate models with calendar-date fixed effects to control for day-specific attributes, such as weather and proximity to holidays. On average, we find that being in a prize period increases riding behavior by sixteen percent, a large impact given that the prize value is just six cents per participating student. We also find that winn...

Published: Cuffe, H.E. & Harbaugh, W.T. & Lindo, J.M. & Musto, G. & Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Evidence on the efficacy of school-based incentives for healthy living," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1028-1036. citation courtesy of

May 2011Theft and Deterrence
with Naci H. Mocan, Michael S. Visser: w17059
We report results from economic experiments of decisions that are best described as petty larceny, with high school and college students who can anonymously steal real money from each other. Our design allows exogenous variation in the rewards of crime, and the penalty and probability of detection. We find that the probability of stealing is increasing in the amount of money that can be stolen, and that it is decreasing in the probability of getting caught and in the penalty for getting caught. Furthermore, the impact of the certainty of getting caught is larger when the penalty is bigger, and the impact of the penalty is bigger when the probability of getting caught is larger.

Published: “ Theft and Deterrence ,” with Bill Harbaugh and Mike Visser. (NBER Working Paper No: 17059). Journal of Labor Research . December 2013. Vol. 34 (4), pp. 389 - 407.

September 2006An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults
with Michael S. Visser, Naci H. Mocan: w12507
We report results from economic experiments that provide a direct test of the hypothesis that criminal behavior responds rationally to changes in the possible rewards and in the probability and severity of punishment. The experiments involve decisions that are best described as petty larceny, and are done using high school and college students who can anonymously take real money from each other. We find that decisions about whether and how much to steal are, in general, rational and responsive to the variations in tradeoffs, and sometimes, though not always, to the overall availability of criminal opportunities.
May 2000Reexamining the Empirical Evidence for an Environmental Kuznets Curve
with Arik Levinson, David Wilson: w7711
This paper uses an updated and revised panel data set on ambient air pollution in cities world-wide to examine the robustness of the evidence for the existence of an inverted U-shaped relationship between national income and pollution. We test the sensitivity of the pollution-income relationship to functional forms, to additional covariates, and to changes in the nations, cities, and years sampled. We find that the results are highly sensitive to these changes. We conclude that there is little empirical support for an inverted-U-shaped relationship between several important air pollutants and national income in these data.

Published: William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August. citation courtesy of

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